Sweet Tea

Some people have never tried southern sweet tea.




Yes, I was giving you a moment of silence.

In honor of the Southern ways, I will try to redeem this by introducing you to sweet tea.

Sweet tea is heavy on the sweet.  It requires mass amounts of sugar.  It’s like pancake syrup, without the pancake or syrup (just the sugar).  Down here in the South, when we say sweet, we mean sweet.  Okay, ya’ll?

  • Boil a pot of water and remove from heat.
  • Place 6 regular teabags in the water
  • Steep for about half an hour.
  • Pour warm tea into a gallon sized pitcher.
  • Add 1.5-2 cups sugar to the warm tea. Stir well.
  • Add room temperature water to the top of the pitcher.
  • Serve on ice when cold. The ice is also important. You’ve got to use a lot of it. And if you have the electronic equipment to crush it-then crush away, my friend.

P.S. Let me tell you what sweet tea is not.  It’s not instant.  It is not unsweetened iced tea with sugar or artificial additives.  There is NO adding of artificial sweetness required or allowed.

That actually RUINS it.

Making sweet tea isn’t as easy as some think   The key:  add the sugar when the tea is hot.   It is a process that requires an expert.  I have consume enough sweet tea to actually pee it, so I think I qualify.

Sweet tea is a sacred production that requires patience. It must cool completely in the fridge.

One last hint is to not over steep.  That and leaving sweet tea un-refrigerated too long makes it bitter.  Bitter sweet tea—well, it isn’t sweet, now is it?

Amazing research done by Cracker Barrel proves that sweet tea drinkers are more laid-back and friendlier than soda drinkers. The report also stated that sweet tea consumers are perceived funnier and more exciting than unsweetened tea drinkers.  There you have it, dear ones, I owe all of THIS to sweet tea.

So, go ahead.  Don’t be afraid.  I challenge all my northern, eastern and western friends to give it a shot.  I guarantee it’ll be so good, you’ll slap your Momma or marry your cousin!


  1. 1


    OK, I feel that I may have met my soulmate, seeing how many things you said in this post that I have said myself many times in my daily life! In fact, I just added a picture of our sun tea on the deck from this weekend to my sidebar; just seeing that tea makes me smile:-)

    Preach it sister, is all I can say to this post:-)

  2. 3


    Sweet tea doth flow through my southern veins! I do agree…it is the invention of Heaven. God….He loves sweet tea….I am sure of it. Love your blog, for you do preach the truth! lol

  3. 4


    Ok, I’m one of THOSE people you talk about. I’ve never tasted sweet tea and I HATE regular iced tea and hot tea so I’ve never had any urge to try sweet tea (nor opportunity). Now my husband likes sweet tea or I think I remember hearing him say he’s had it and liked it. So, my questions are…

    How much water do you boil in the pot? What kind of tea bags? If you answer, maybe I’ll try making some for my husband and just maybe I’ll try some myself…maybe.

  4. 5


    I’m a TX transplant originally from IN and I use almost a cup in a half gallon of tea. I’m going to try it your way next time. BTW, what sized tea bags do you use?

  5. 6


    I use family size tea bags and usually just Lipton. On the amount of water,I fill a regular saucepan. You can use less water,steep longer and then mix more water in. Basically I look at color-too dark,add more water. Hope that helps!

  6. 7


    Mmmmmm, sweet tea! I think I will make some this afternoon! We had a terrible time with this when we lived in NY for a couple of years. They served that nasty instant stuff from the soda machine that tastes like synthetic lemons when you ordered tea. Yuck. The line for ordering sweet tea when out and about cuts somewhere through West Virginia and keeps going through Virginia at about Charlottesville/Richmond according to my research.

  7. 8

    Willy-Nilly says

    Tea by any other name would NOT taste as sweet! It’s as if you’ve been reading my mind. I am willing to give up anything but not my sweettea! BTW My recipe for a Gallon of tea uses 2 cups of sugar! Another sweet tea rule, Never finagle with it, perhaps a squeeze of lime or lemon but no peach, mango or any other crazy additions!!! Sweet tea is truly sacred!

    You are a woman after my own heart and I look forward to keeping up with your blog!

  8. 9

    the lizness says

    I make it this same way, only b/c of my diabetic stepdaughter, I use 1 1/2 cups Splenda pourable to sweeten. She loves her some sweettea, let me tell you.

  9. 10


    Good news for you! It is not the sweet tea causing your pants to become…er…snug.
    Because I myself have never tasted the stuff and yet my clothing seems to be shrinking. I’ll continue searching for the answer, but in the meantime, enjoy your sweet tea!

  10. 11


    I am a southern girl in Colorado–and I do know and love the wonder that is sweet tea!

    Have you ever tried Dominic’s sweet tea? It is a restaurant that was in Shreveport, LA for many years. It was wonderful!! My friend and I made ourselves plum sick trying to copy the recipe at home one day. No kidding! It had a sassafras flavor with mint and orange. Oh. Yum!

    • 11.1

      Ryan K. says

      I was wondering if you were ever able to replicate this recipe. I tried 5 Lipton tea bags, 1 Bigelow mint tea bag sweetened, and then squeezed half an orange added some mint leaves and orange slices. It was pretty close, but now it’s been so long since I’ve had that tea I almost can’t remember.

      Any help?

  11. 13


    Ah, the quote from Steel Magnolia’s got me – as I say that all the time! We are big sweet tea drinkers, as my husband demonstrated to our poor waitress as lunch today!
    Another tip – Pampered Chef makes this large microwave cooking pot – you can make it in the microwave if you’re really in a hurry!

    And those wimpy ice tea machines? please – don’t try it – they mess up sweet tea like you’d not believe.

    Chickfila rules :)

  12. 15


    I LOVE SWEET TEA TOO!! I admit to using Splenda at home, but can rarely resist the real sweet when we are out…I have to wonder though…do you have a Sonny’s BBQ nearby? The bliss of a jumbo sonny’s sweet tea is unmatched. If you have one near you try it…if not? Plan a road trip…McAlister’s is good too!

  13. 17


    Wow, have I been making it wrong? I just let it boil for a few minutes and use 2 cups of sugar. And I am ashamed to say I sometimes do put ice in the pitcher.

  14. 19


    This post made me laugh out loud. I’m sure you’ll think I’m crazy just like my kinfolk do, but I hate tea, all forms of it. I’m from the Deep South, where saying “no thanks” to a glass of sweet tea is unacceptable. My husband brews tea every day and only uses Red Diamond. We live in Texas now, and grocery stores don’t carry Red Diamond (an Alabama company). So, he tells everyone his tea is “imported.”

  15. 20


    Ha! I am laughing and was so pleased to see that someone else feels the same way about sweet tea that I do!:) I even made a sign in my kitchen that says the quote about it being the "House Wine of the South" I LOVE good sweet tea and I judge a restaurant by whether or not it has freshly brewed sweet tea! I must say that I have made sweet tea snobs out of my husband and kids too! Keep up the great blogging, I love your site!

  16. 21


    I am literally LOL at the directions for making your Southern Sweet Tea as I grew up in the South and lived on Sweet Tea as do most true Southerners – however, I've lived in the Northeast now for the last 4 years and have had a HECK of a time finding REAL Sweet Tea while out and about – but I finally found it in McDonald's as well as Cracker Barrel and even Arby's has good sweet tea. I am really missing the South and would LOVE to have your shirt – I am new to the blogsphere and learning a lot from you as well as others. Thanks for the opportunity at a chance to win the adorable shirt. Have a great day! Big Hugs, Tracy :o)

  17. 24


    If you are ever in the great state of Alabama, you must try "Milos" sweat tea!
    Rumor has it thay they use brown sugar to sweeten their tea, and I assure you it is MMMM good!
    They sell it by the gallons in stores like Wal-Mart, and if you have a baby, surgery, or any other occasion for people to bring you food, you will always get a gallon of this liquid gold!

  18. 25


    Sweet amber nectar of the gods! I was raised in the south on sweet tea. Other kids may have drank milk for breakfast, but not me. Give me my sweet tea or die! Now I live in the Pacific NW where they are just now discovering the joys of sweet tea in a few restaurants. Mickey D's sweet tea is actually not bad. My 10 year old daughter is including a recipe for sweet tea in the cookbook she is making for her 4-H fair exhibit. She should win the grand prize for that recipe alone. Cheers!

  19. 26


    I am from the South and we always have a gallon in the frige! May I make a suggestion? I put 1/4 tsp. of baking soda (yes Baking soda) into the boiling pot of water, right before adding the tea bags. It takes all the bitter away, and there is not tasting it. My mother and grandmother from GA always did this, and know so do I. Friends think it's just because I'm from the south that my tea taste so good. We know live in PA.

  20. 27


    LOL! I enjoyed reading your post. I'm a Northerner, and I had never had sweet tea until McDonald's started selling it. I don't know how it stacks up against real Southern sweet tea, but I like it a lot! If I were making your recipe, could decaf tea bags be used? Or more of them? (Anything decaf seems less flavored to me than the caffeinated product.)


  21. 28


    I make my sweet tea just the way my grandma did. My husband (who likes unsweetened tea…ick)always asks me "Would you like a little tea with your sugar??". You would think after 15 years together he would have stopped that, but noooooo….

  22. 29


    I have always made my tea by the 2 quart pitcher, and use almost 2 cups of sugar. Sweet? Oh yes. Good? Oh yes. I gave up on Lipton when I discovered Harney and Sons teas. Absolute perfection, without a hint of bitterness. A glass of sweet tea and my front porch swing…life is good!


  23. 30

    Anonymous says

    I have to disagree with the folks who say the sweet tea from McDonalds is pretty good! But, in my opinion, Whataburger and Chik-fil-A are the best in fast food sweet tea, at least here in Texas.

  24. 31


    I never really drank *real* sweet tea until I moved to Tennessee and took a job. Between the southern influence and the need for an afternoon pick-me-up, I am now an addict. Thank you very much. You, as always, have made me laugh out loud. I think I'll be linking to your article since I think that all my friends need a good laugh today as well.

  25. 32


    I was just served some tea that I'm guessing must have been sweet tea today and thought I was going to gag. Maybe it was not real sweet tea?? I am a California girl and my version of sweet tea is jasmine green tea pearls brewed strong then chilled. Poured over ice and sweetened with liquid stevia or organic agave nectar. I know all you southern belles will scoff but hey, that's how we roll… At least that's how I roll! Anyhoo, maybe I'll have to try this recipe and see if it compares to the stuff I was served today … Or maybe I'll just slip on over to my local Chick fil A.

  26. 34


    Amen to sweet tea! Here in Texas it's easy to get. If you're ever in Gainesville, TX stop at Taco Casa. Everyone here knows it's the best tea in town, and a 32 oz. is just 99 cents!

    At our house we drink a gallon a day: 3 family size tea bags, 1 cup sugar (definitely add the sugar while it's hot) and add tap water. There's no such thing as "adding sugar to unsweet iced tea" at a restaurant. I HATE it when a waitress says "We have sugar packets you can add." My usual response is, "I"ll have Dr. Pepper instead."

  27. 36

    Anonymous says

    In response to what Logan said…we are addicted to Milo's Famous Sweet Tea here in Huntsville, AL! My favorite vacation spot is in Gatlinburg, TN. When they finally got Milo's in the grocery stores there my husband & I said, "Okay, now it's safe to move here!"

  28. 37


    I like chick-fil-a tea, I like my dad's sweet tea, I like our sweet tea, but I LOVE Grandma Schader's sweet tea!! I didn't know what real sweet tea was until I married and had a family dinner at his grandma's house. I hope to someday inherit the tools she uses to make her tea. Because somehow her recipe doesn't taste the same making it with my utensils :-)

  29. 38


    Don't temp me
    I'm where I wanna be
    'Cause on the eighth day
    God made sweet tea

    Sweet Tea
    Cravin Melon
    From the Album Red Clay Harvest

    I had forgotten this song until I read your post about sweet tea. This was back in the late 90's. I loved this song because if your truly from the South you can relate!

  30. 39

    Leisa says

    Southern Sweet Tea is awesome! If anyone knows the secret to Sonny’s BBQ Sweet Tea please share it. I have asked what kind of tea they use and I always get the same answer. It’s Sonny’s Tea. Now Sonny makes some great BBQ too but I gotta have that iced tea recipe and brand. So, someone who knows please share it here.

    • 39.1

      Debbie says

      Leisa, I ran across your post regarding Sonny’s Barbeque Iced Tea and I totally agree with you that it is the best iced tea around. I was able to find out that it comes as loose tea and is from Triple C Food Products Co. Chicago, IL 60610. I have not ordered any, but if you have gotten different information since your post, please let me know. It is the best tea around.

  31. 40

    Tex says

    Chic-Fil-A’s sweet tea is awesome… but you should try Chicken Express’ Sweet Tea!!! It’s also good and they use ice similar to Sonic.

  32. 41

    mm says

    I love iced tea and almost breathe it– its all I drink….I used to drink only sweet tea, but b/c the sugar content is getting to me I drink half sweet and half unsweet now– its not as good, but sometimes the sweet at places is too sweet. I dont even make it at home which is kind of silly considering how much I drink it. I go to CFA for tea regularly- though their tea changes often and lately they switched brands it seems and its always changing and varies. I’ve found sonnys to be pretty decent…and most teas at restaurants seem good… There however are drive thru places in the small town I live in where they have this really good tea–mm love it and if I ever go back I get that tea…
    Yeah good sweet tea has to be where the sugar is put in when the tea is hot–can tell that though I rarely make it. I just waste my time going to drive thrus getting iced tea a few times a day….but yes iced tea for me is like coffee– and have to have it everyday several times a day….

  33. 42

    Ohio Tea says

    I just have a question to – whomever can answer. I have been on a sweet tea mission for years now. Chick-fil-a is my favorite, and Starbucks brews a darn good black shaken iced -tea sweetened too. (expensive though!)
    So, years ago, I have tried this method, of ‘blending the sugar with the warm tea”, and then pouring with the water (as the originator of this post specified.) The problem is – it tasted “caramel-y”. Not good, not like ‘tea’ should taste, it tasted like caramel, not something you’d want to drink.

  34. 43


    My mother and her family were from Alabama,and I grew up in Missouri. I had never seen nor heard of anyone drinking iced tea WITHOUT sugar! Until I moved to north central Kansas, I thought tea was always sweetened ,whether it was hot or iced.No lemon in my iced tea,please.When I want iced tea,i want iced tea.When I want lemonade,I want lemonade.No mixing of these fine beverages,thank you.

  35. 44


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